Tag Archives: Peter Parker

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 (Spoilers)

Amazing Spider-Man 700 Cover

The Amazing Spider-Man #700
Copyright Marvel Comics

Peter Parker is dead.

Well, for now at least.

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 hit comic shops on Wednesday December 26th.  Normally I look forward to a milestone issue with a sense of celebration as a comic book withstands the test of time and reaches another multiple of 100.  But the internet was buzzing in the weeks prior with rumors of Peter Parker’s death in this final issue of Marvel Comics’ flagship title, and I approached Wednesday December 26th with a sense of dread.

I bought a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 from my local comic shop that morning (autographed by writer Dan Slott), but I needed to prepare myself  before reading this final issue because regardless of the quality of the story, by the last page Peter Parker would be dead (for now at least) and there would not be an Amazing Spider-Man #701 next month.

One of the first comic books I ever owned was The Amazing Spider-Man #175 (read the About section of this website).  Of all of the characters in the Marvel Universe, I could empathize with Peter Parker the most.  That sense of empathy only increased back in 2010 when I had the opportunity to see Steve Ditko’s original pencil and inked splash page to the first Spider-Man story in Amazing Fantasy #15 at the Library of Congress.  This page was our introduction to Peter Parker, the young man who would become Spider-Man and carry the responsibilities and burdens of his powers for the next 50 years of his comic book life.

Part of my emotional investment was from nostalgia, but most of it was respect for the character and the creators that worked on the Spider-Man titles over the last 50 years.  Leading up to Wednesday December 26th, I was fully prepared for the outcome of Dan Slott’s story.  I didn’t agree with it, but I had to accept it as reality.   If The Amazing Spider-Man was going to end its run, I could only hope the final issue would be worthy of its history.

For me, issue #700 doesn’t measure up.

Leading up to issue #700, Doctor Octopus pulled a mind/body switch with Peter Parker and is now fully entrenched in Parker’s body while Parker is trapped in Octavius’ dying body, each man with access to the other’s memories. Parker/Octopus, with hours to live, breaks out of prison with the memory of an Octavius escape plan and the help of Scorpion, Hydro-Man and The Trapster.  A showdown ensues and Octavius/Spider-Man is victorious.  But as Parker/Dr. Octopus lays dying, he forces his memories onto Octavius/Spider-Man though a link their minds still share.  Parker’s key memories as Spider-Man (the death of Uncle Ben, the death of Gwen Stacy, etc.) are too much for Octavius/Spider-Man to handle and he is overcome with emotion and the realization that “with great power, comes great responsibility.”  Octavius finally understands, and with his dying breath Parker declares him Spider-Man and makes him promise to keep his loved ones safe.  At that moment of Peter Parker’s death, Octavius/Spider-Man promises to use his “unparalleled genius” and “boundless ambition” to be an even greater version of Spider-Man.  From that moment on, he will be THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN!!!

Which reminds me, The Superior Spider-Man #1 comes out Wednesday January 9th.

But back to Amazing Spider-Man #700…

The Freaky Friday-esque plot was disappointing enough, but the ending was the true disappointment for me.  I find it hard to believe that Dr. Otto Octavius, one of Spider-Man’s greatest nemeses, could suddenly feel sympathy for Peter Parker to the point where he becomes overcome with emotion and converts from evil to good.  Even with full access to Peter’s memories, he is still first and foremost Dr. Otto Octavius.  After an intense fight sequence, this resolution is a letdown.

I hope the death of Peter Parker is just a sales gimmick that will be reversed down the line.  But regardless of whether or not this happens, the damage has been done: The Amazing Spider-Man has ended.

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Thoughts On The Amazing Spider-Man Reboot

The Amazing Spider-Man
Sony Pictures Entertainment

The numbers are in and The Amazing Spider-Man has pulled in $65 million for the weekend, $141 million for the 4th of July week, and $341 million worldwide.

Here’s a film that one month ago I had very little interest in seeing.  Not because the previous three films directed by Sam Raimi were too fresh in my mind or because I felt that theaters are over saturated with comic book films (that thought is sacrilege in my mind!).  Since this reboot was first announced, my first and only thought was: Why?  The origin story was already covered in Spider-Man 1, which for the most part was pretty accurate to the original 1962 story in Amazing Fantasy #15.  By now people know how Peter Parker became Spider-Man even if they’ve never read the comic books.  Socially awkward bookworm Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider, can climb walls, develops web shooters, lets it get to his head, Uncle Ben gets…you know what I mean.

Then a month ago I watched the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man.

Hmmmm.  Liked it.  OK, I’m curious now.

When my interest level reached that point, I couldn’t help thinking about the one major thing I didn’t like about the Sam Raimi films.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Spider-Man 1 and I loved Spider-Man 2 (I prefer not to discuss Spider-Man 3, I’ll just leave it at that), but there was one element of those films that the comic fan in me couldn’t ignore: replacing Gwen Stacy in the first two films with Mary Jane Watson, which was absolutely unnecessary.  It goes beyond the dynamic of nerdy kid falls in love with and gets the pretty girl, which in my opinion was the only dynamic between Peter and Mary Jane in the Raimi films.  Having Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man brings a lot more to the story.  Peter’s relationship with Gwen in turn creates a relationship with her father, Captain Stacy, which existed in the comic books but didn’t exist in the first two Raimi films.  Seeing Emma Stone in the role of Gwen made me want to give The Amazing Spider-Man a chance.

I checked out The Amazing Spider-Man at a matinee on the 4th of July.  The theater was about 2/3 full for the 11:30 AM screening.  By the time the movie ended, I was satisfied and for the most part the rest of the audience enjoyed it as well.  While people will continue to debate the need for a reboot in 2012, whether it’s necessary/justified or not I think The Amazing Spider-Man stands on its own.  That’s not to say it’s perfect.  It’s not as visually dynamic as the Sam Raimi films.  Some of the CGI looked a bit cartoony, particularly the Lizard.  Most importantly, a couple of details from Spidey’s comic book origin were simplified, particularly Uncle Ben’s murder (for the record, I refuse to consider that tidbit a spoiler alert and prefer to give my readers the benefit of the doubt) and the events that led Peter to understand “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man is less action and more drama compared to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 1.  It changed several elements of the Spider-Man canon (e.g. Peter’s discovery of the extent of his powers, the circumstances of Uncle Ben’s death), a greater emphasis on Peter’s parents and their disappearance, and more drama to Peter’s relationship with Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  Personally I thought Martin Sheen was fantastic as Uncle Ben (this coming from a huge Cliff Robertson fan), and I think an actress of Sally Field’s caliber will bring a lot to Aunt May’s character in future films.  Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker wasn’t as socially awkward as Tobey Maguire’s.  Garfield was a bit too confident as Peter at times, but was effective in bringing some of Spider-Man’s smart-aleckyness from the comic books to the screen.

Things I liked about this film:

Gwen Stacy
The web shooters are back
Peter’s relationship with Uncle Ben
The Lizard

Things I didn’t like as much (SPOILERS):

Gwen’s connection to Dr. Connors wasn’t very plausible.
Not including the famous line of dialogue regarding great power and great responsibility.
The circumstances leading to Uncle Ben’s murder.
Spider-Man was unmasked in a scene that should have made his identity public.

The one question I have difficulty answering is whether or not the reboot was necessary.   Most likely it wasn’t, but overall this film stands on its own even if the first three were not made.  Despite a few caveats, it was still very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to the next film.

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